The Eastport South Manor softball team lost just three games during the regular season and never two in a row, but the Lady Sharks saw their season come to a screeching halt in a matter of a 24-hour span with back-to-back losses in the double-elimination Suffolk County Class A playoffs last week.
The second seed Lady Sharks were knocked out of the tournament with a 15-4 loss to fourth seed Sayville on their home field on May 30. The loss was the second of the tournament for the Lady Sharks, who lost a 10-9 extra-innings heartbreaker to top seed Miller Place the day before.
Sayville, which won its first-ever state title in 2012, went on to defend its county title with back-to-back victories over Miller Place. During the only regular season meeting between the two teams, ESM won 9-5.
Watching just the first inning, it would’ve been easy to assume it was going to be a lopsided game in favor of the Lady Sharks in the elimination game against Sayville. But that’s why there are seven innings.
The Lady Golden Flashes were sat down in order in the top of the first and ESM wasted no time putting runs on the board, scoring two before even recording an out.
Dana Taglione led off the inning with a single on the first pitch and Nina Gaita followed with a base hit. Marissa Rizzi’s double plated Taglione and then a poor decision on shortstop Emily Sellitti’s part allowed another run to score. Jackie Chester grounded into what should have been a textbook 6-4-3 double play, however, Sellitti opted to throw home to catch Gaita but the ball sailed over the catcher’s head to the backstop, making Gaita safe and putting Rizzi on third and Chester on second. Kaila Konkel grounded into a double play as she was thrown out at first and Rizzi was tagged out attempting to score. Chester came around to score on another Sellitti error on a Hope Brenkert grounder for a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Sharks continued their aggressive base running but it cost them for the final out of the inning. Sam Vosper’s grounder went under the glove of first baseman Kirsten Bricker but right fielder Hailey Comiskey gunned the ball home to catch Brenkert at the plate.
Sayville got two back in the top of the second on a pair of two-out, bases-loaded singles, and then piled on five runs, four of which came with two outs, in the top of the fourth to build a lead it would never relinquish.
After Sayville took over the lead, ESM’s pitcher, Marissa Rizzi, was replaced by Amanda Rose in the circle. Rose held the Lady Golden Flashes scoreless the first inning she faced them, and ESM got one back as Rizzi tripled and then scored on a Chester triple for a 7-4 score after five. But Sayville struck back in the top of the sixth with a pair for a 9-4 lead.
ESM was sat down in order in the bottom of the sixth and the Lady Golden Flashes put it in the books with a six-run seventh.
The Lady Sharks found themselves in the loser’s bracket after suffering a one-run loss to Miller Place in a game that started on May 24 and was called due to rain with Miller Place up 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth.
When the game was finally completed on May 29, the Lady Panthers won in the bottom of the 11th inning on a Tori Carlo RBI single. ESM rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the score at 8-8 and both teams scored in the eighth inning to make it 9-9 before Miller Place won in the 11th, 10-9.
While the season came to a disappointing end for the Lady Sharks, the squad can take solace in the fact that just two players, only one starter, will graduate this year. Starting shortstop Dana Taglioni will be leaving the team as well as Maeve Dowd.